Ken Ham Leads off: [Joke about his Aussie accent.]
When this was first announced on the Internet, there were lots of statements like this one from the Richard Dawkins Foundation, "Scientists should not debate creationists." I believe there is a gross misrepresentation in our culture. People have been indoctrinated to believe that creationists cannot be scientists. I believe this is a case of secularists hijacking the word “science.” I want you to meet a modern-day scientist who is a biblical creationist.
Video clip: My name is Stuart Burgess. I am a professor of engineering design in the UK. I have published over 130 scientific papers on science and design. In my research work I find that scientific evidence supports creationism as the best explanation to origins.”
Ham: Stuart is a biblical creationist, who is a scientist; he is also an inventor, and I want young people to understand, that the problem I believe is this: we need to define terms correctly. We need to define creation, evolution in regard to origins, and we need to define science. In this opening statement, I want to concentrate on dealing with the word "science." I believe the word science has been hijacked by secularists.
What is science? The origin of the word comes from the classical Latin which means “to know”. The dictionary will tell you that science is the state of knowing and knowledge, (slide: as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding). But there's different types of knowledge, and I think this is where the confusion arises. There is experimental or observational science, as we call it, that's using the scientific method of observation, measurement, and experiment and testing. That's what produces our technology: computers, spacecraft, jet planes, smoke detectors, etc. Looking at DNA, antibiotics, medicines and vaccines. You see, all scientists, whether evolutionists or creationists, actually have the same observational or experimental science. And it doesn’t matter whether you're an evolutionist or a creationist; you can be a great scientist. For instance, here is an atheist who is a great scientist: Craig Venter is one of the first researchers to sequence the human genome. Or Dr. Raymond Damadian, the man who invented the MRI scanner and revolutionized the field of medicine. He is a biblical creationist. But I want you to also understand: molecules-to-man evolution belief has nothing to do with developing technology. You see, when we’re talking about origins, were talking about the past; we weren’t there; we can't observe that, whether it's molecules-to-man evolution or whether it's the creation account.
When you are talking about the past, we like to call it origins- or historical-science. Here at the Creation Museum, we make no apologies about the fact that our origins, or historical science, is based on the Biblical account of origins. When you research science textbooks being used in public schools, what we have found is this: by and large, the origins, or historical science is based on man's ideas about the past. For example, the ideas of Darwin. And our research has found that public school textbooks are using the same word “science” for observational science and historical science; they arbitrarily define science as naturalism, and outlaw the supernatural. They present molecules-to-man evolution as fact. They are imposing the religion of naturalism/atheism on generations of students.
I assert that the word “science” has been hijacked by secularists in teaching evolution, to force the religion of naturalism on generations of kids. Secular evolutionists teach that all life developed by natural processes from some primeval form; that man is just an evolved animal, which has great bearing on how we view life and death. Graphic: ape man evolving into modern man; [icon of human evolution]. For instance, as Bill states, "It's hard for many of us to accept that when you die it’s over." You see, the Bible gives a totally different account of origins: who we are, where we came from, the meaning of life, and our future.
Scripture: Romans 5:12: Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin. But John 3:16, says “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. So, is creation a viable model of origins in today's modern scientific era? I say, the creation/evolution debate is really a conflict between two philosophical worldviews based on two different accounts of origins or historical science beliefs. Creation is the only viable model of historical science, confirmed by observational science, in today's modern scientific era.
Bill Nye's opening statement:
It's a pleasure to be here. I very much appreciate you including me in your facility here. I see just one bow tie, no, there's two, that's great. [Joke about learning to tie a bow tie and getting help from an undertaker, who required him to lie down before he could tie it. not sure the relevance of the joke.]
So here tonight we are going to have two stories, and we can compare Mr. Ham’s story to the story from the outside, what I call mainstream science. The question here tonight is, does Ken Ham’s creation model hold up? Is it viable? So let me ask you, what would you be doing if you weren't here tonight? You'd be home watching CSI – – (Crime Scene Investigation) TV show, CSI-Petersburg. I think that's coming. And on CSI, there is no distinction made between historical science and observational science. These are constructs unique to Mr. Ham. We don't normally have these anywhere in the world except here.
Natural laws that applied in the past apply now; that's why there are natural laws, that's why we embrace them. That's how we made all these discoveries that enabled this marvelous technology. Although CSI is a fictional show, it's based absolutely on real people doing real work, going to a crime scene, where you have evidence and you get clues about the past, and you trust those clues and you embrace them, and go forward to convict somebody.
Now Mr. Ham and his followers have this remarkable view of a worldwide flood, that somehow influenced everything we observe in nature. A 500 foot wooden boat, eight zookeepers for 14,000 individual animals, every land plant in the world underwater for a year? I ask us all, "is that really reasonable?"
You hear a lot about the Grand Canyon I imagine, which is a remarkable place, and it has fossils, and the fossils in the Grand Canyon are found in layers. There is not a single place in the Grand Canyon where the fossils of one type of animal cross over into the fossils of another. In other words, when there's a big flood on the Earth, you would expect drowning animals to swim up to a higher level. Not any one of them did, not a single one. If you could find evidence of that my friends, you could change the world.
Now I just want to remind us all, there are billions of people in the world who are deeply religious; who get enriched by the wonderful sense of community from their religion. They worship together, they eat together, they live in their communities and enjoy each other's company; Billions of people. But these same people do not embrace the extraordinary view that the earth is somehow only 6000 years old. That is unique, and here's my concern: what keeps the United States ahead, what makes the United States a world leader, is our technology, innovation, our new ideas. If we continue to eschew science, eschew the process, and try to divide our science into observational science and historical science, we won't move forward and embrace natural laws, we will not make discoveries, we will not invent and innovate and stay ahead. So, if you ask me if Ken Ham's creation model is viable, I say no, it’s absolutely not viable. So, stay with us over the next period, and you can compare my evidence to his. Thank you all very much.
Presentation by Ken Ham: (30 min.)
Our debate topic is, “Is creation a viable model of origins in today's scientific era?” And I made a statement at the end of my opening statement, that creation is the only viable model of historical science, confirmed by observational science in today's modern scientific era.
And I said, what we need to be doing is defining our terms, and particularly three terms: science, creation and evolution. Now, I discussed the meaning of the word "science", and what is meant by experimental or observational science briefly, and that both creationists and evolutionists can be great scientists. For instance, I mentioned Craig Venter, biologist, he's an atheist, and a great scientist. He was one of the first researchers to sequence the human genome. I also mentioned Dr. Raymond Damadian, who actually invented the MRI scanner. I want you to meet a biblical creationist who is a scientist and inventor:
Video clip by Raymond Damadian: “My name is Dr. Raymond Damadian. I am a young Earth creation scientist, and I believe that God created the world in six 24-hour days, just as recorded in the book of Genesis. By God's grace and the devoted prayers of my godly mother-in-law, I invented the MRI scanner in 1969. The idea that scientists who believe the earth is 6000 years old cannot do real science is simply wrong.”
Ham: He is adamant about that, and actually, he revolutionized medicine, and he is a biblical creationist. I encourage children to follow people like that and make them their heroes. Let me introduce to you another biblical creation scientist.
Video clip: "My name is Danny Faulkner. I received my PhD in astronomy from Indiana University. For 26 1/2 years I was professor at the University of S. Carolina in Lancaster, where I hold the rank of Distinguished Professor Emeritus. Upon my retirement from the University in January of 2013, I joined the research staff at Answers in Genesis. I am a stellar astronomer. That means my primary interest is stars, but I'm particularly interested in the study of eclipsing binary stars. And I have published many articles in the astronomy literature, such as the Astrophysical Journal, the Astronomical Journal, and the Observatory. There is nothing in observational astronomy which contradicts a recent creation.
Ham: I also mentioned Dr. Stuart Burgess, Professor of engineering design at Bristol University in England. He invented and designed a double action worm gear set for the robotic arm on the 1.4 billion pounds[-sterling] Envisat satellite. If that gear set had not worked, the whole satellite would have been useless.
Yet Dr. Burgess is a biblical creationist. He believes just as I believe. Now think about this for a moment: aside from scientists like Dr. Burgess who believe in creation just as I do, let's see what he says about scientists believing in creation: “I find that many of my colleagues in academia ascribe to the creationist viewpoint, including biologists. However they are often afraid to speak out because of the criticism they might receive from the media and their atheist colleagues.
Ham: I agree that's a real problem today. You need to have freedom to be allowed to speak on these topics. You know, I just want to say by the way, non-Christian scientists are really borrowing from the Christian worldview anyway, to carry out their experimental observational science. Think about that. When they're doing observational science, and using the scientific method, they have to assume the laws of logic, the laws of nature and the uniformity of nature. I mean, think about it: if the universe started out by natural processes, where did the laws of logic come from? Did they just pop into existence? Are we to say that we now only have a half-logic? So you see I have a question for Bill Nye: how do you account for the laws of logic and the laws of nature from a naturalistic worldview? Which excludes the existence of God?
Now, in my opening statement I also discussed a different type of science, or knowledge: origins, or historical science. There's a confusion here; there's a misunderstanding here. People by and large have not been taught to look at what you believe about the past as different compared to what you observe in the present. You don’t observe the past directly. Even when you think about the creation account, we can't observe God creating, we can’t observe the creation of Adam and Eve, we admit that. We are willing to admit our beliefs about the past, but you see, what you see in the present is very different. Even some public schools textbooks actually sort of acknowledge the difference between historical science and observational science.
Here is a science textbook that is used in public schools, and in it we read this: “In contrast to physical geology, the aim of historical geology is to understand Earth's long history.” It makes a statement, “historical geology (so we are talking about historical science) tries to establish a timeline of the vast number of physical and biological changes that have occurred in the past… We study physical geology before historical geology, because we must first understand how Earth works before we try me to unravel it's past.” In other words, we observe things in the present, and then we assume that's always happening in the past, and we are going to try and figure out how this happens. You see, there is a difference between what we observe and what's happened in the past.
Let me illustrate it this way: if Bill Nye and I went to the Grand Canyon [canyon slide here], we could agree that that's the Coconino sandstone and the Hermit Shale there at the boundary, and they’re sitting one on top of the other, we can agree on that. We could even analyze the minerals and agree on that. But you know what we really disagree on? How long it took to get there. But you see, none of us saw the sandstone or the shale when it was being laid down. There is a supposed 10 million year gap there, but I don't see a gap. But I don't know what Bill Nye would see. But there's a difference between what we actually observe directly, and then your interpretation of that with regard to the past.
When I was at the Goddard Space Center, I met creationists and evolutionists who were both working on the Hubble space telescope. They agreed on how to do the Hubble telescope. But do you know what they disagreed on? They disagreed on how to interpret the data that the telescope obtained, in regard to the age of the universe.
You know we could go on and talk about lots of other similar sorts of things. For instance, I've heard Bill Nye talk about how a smoke detector works, using the radioactive element Americium. I totally agree with him on that; we agree how it works; we agree how radioactivity enables that to work. But if you're going to use radioactive elements and talk about the age of the earth, you’ve got a problem, because you weren't there. You have to understand parent elements, daughter elements, and so on. We could agree, whether you’re creationists or evolutionists, on the technology to put a rover on Mars, but we could disagree on how to interpret the origin of Mars. I mean, there are some people who even believe there was a global flood on Mars, even though there is no liquid water on Mars.
But you know, we could disagree maybe on our interpretation of origins, and you cannot prove [that] by the way, because-- not from a observational science perspective, because we've only got the present. Creationists and evolutionists both work on medicines and vaccines. You see, it’s not a matter whether you're creationists or evolutionists; all scientists have the same experimental, observational science.
So I have a question for Bill Nye. Can you name one piece of technology that could only have been developed starting with the belief in molecules-to-man evolution?
Now, here is another important fact: creationists and evolutionists all have the same evidence. Bill Nye and I have the same Grand Canyon. We don't disagree on that. We have the same fish fossils; here’s one from the Creation Museum; the same dinosaur skeletons, the same animals, the same humans, the same DNA and the same radioactive decay of elements that we see. We have the same universe; actually, we all have the same evidences. It's not the evidences that are different. It's a battle over the same evidence in regard to how we interpret the past. And you know why that is? Because it is really about worldviews and starting points. It is a battle over philosophical worldviews and starting points with the same evidence.
Now, I admit that my starting point is that God is the ultimate authority. If someone does not accept that, then man has to be the ultimate authority. And that's really the difference when it comes down to it. You see, I've been emphasizing the difference between historical/origins science, knowledge about the past, and we weren't there, and we need to understand that we weren't there. All experimental or observational science [is] using our five senses with the scientific method, what we can directly observe, test, and repeat. There is a big difference between those two. And that's not what is being taught in our public schools, and that’s why our kids are not being taught to think critically, and correctly about the origins issue.
You know it's also important to understand, when talking about creation or evolution, both involve historical science and observational science. You see, the role of observational science is this: it can be used to confirm or otherwise. ?? [inaudible] Historical science is based on one's starting point. Now, when you think about the debate topic, and what I’ve learned concerning creation, if our origins or historical science is based on the Bible, and the Bible's account of origins, is true, then there should be predictions we can make from this, that we can test with observational science. And there are.
For instance, based on the Bible we expect to find evidence confirming an intelligence produced life; evidence confirming “after their Kind”; the Bible says God made kinds of animals to reproduce after their Kind, and creationists actually agree that they came from some common ancestor kind, and so each kind produces its own, and not that one Kind changes into another.
We would expect to find evidence confirming a global flood of Noah's day. Evidence confirming one race of humans, because we all go back to Adam and Eve. That means biologically there is only one race of people. Evidence concerning the Tower of Babel, that God gave different languages. Evidence confirming a young universe. I can’t go through all of those, but a couple of them we will look at briefly.
After their Kind, the evidence confirming that: in the Creation Museum, we have a display featuring replicas of Darwin's finches. They're called Darwin's finches. Darwin collected finches in the Galapagos and took them back to England, and we see the different species; you can see the beak sizes here, and the specimens that Darwin obtained in the Galapagos. He actually hunted these things and tried to explain this, and in his notes actually he came up with this diagram here, a tree, and he actually said, "I think.”
So, he was talking about different species, and maybe those species came from some common ancestor –actually when it comes to finches, we would actually agree as creationists, the different finch species came from a common ancestor, but a finch. That’s what it would have to come from. You see, Darwin wasn't just thinking about species, Darwin had a much bigger picture in mind. When you look at the Origin of Species and read that book, you'll find he made this statement:
“From such low and intermediate forms, both animals and plants may have been developed; and if we admit this we must likewise admit that all organic beings which ever have lived on this earth may be descended from some one primordial form.”
So he had in mind what we today know as an evolutionary tree of life. That is, all life has arisen from some primordial form. Now when you consider the classification system: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species, we would say as creationists, and we have many creation scientists who have researched this; and for lots of reasons, I would say the “Kind” in Genesis 1 really is more at the family level of classification. For instance, there is one dog Kind, one cat Kind, even though we have different genera and different species. That would mean, by the way, you didn't really need nearly that many animals on the Ark as people think. You wouldn't need all the species of dogs just two; you wouldn’t need all the species of cats, just two. You see, based on the biblical account, there in Genesis 1, creationists have drawn up what they believe is a creation Orchard [rather than a tree]. In other words, they're saying, "look-- there is a great variation in genetics of dogs, and in finches, and so on, and so over time particularly after Noah's flood, you would expect that if there were two dogs for instance, you could end up with different species of dogs, possessing an incredible amount of variability In the genes of any creature. And so you would expect these different species up here. But there are limits: dogs will always be dogs and finches will always be finches. Now, as a creationist, I maintain that observational science actually confirms this model. Based on the Bible.
For Instance, Take dogs: in a scientific paper dated January 2014, that's this year, scientists working at the University of California stated this: "we provide several lines of evidence supporting a single origin for dogs and disfavoring alternative models in which dog lineages arise separately from geographically distinct wolf populations."
And they put this diagram in their paper: and that diagram is very similar to this diagram [the dog Kind tree in the Orchard] that creationists propose, based on the creation account in Genesis. In other words, there is a common dog ancestor that gives rise to the different species of dogs, and that's exactly what we’re saying here. Now in the Creation Museum, we actually show the finches here with their different beaks, besides dogs with various species of dogs. And by the way, there's more variation in these dogs as there are in these finches. Yet the dogs are never used as an example of evolution, but the finches are, particularly in public school textbooks. Students are taught, ah!, see the changes that are occurring here?
And here's another problem that we’ve got. Not only has the word “science” been hijacked by secularists, I believe the word evolution has been hijacked, using what I call a bait and switch. Let me explain to you. The word “evolution” has been used in public school textbooks and documentaries and so on, and is used for observable changes which we would agree with, and then used for unobservable changes such as molecules-to-man. Let me explain to you what's really going on, because I was a science teacher in the public schools, and I know what the students were taught, and I check the textbooks anyway, to know what they were taught.
So, you see students are taught today, look, there are all these animals and plants, but they're all part of this great big tree of life that goes back to some primordial form [pointing to the tree] and we see changes; changes in finches, changes in dogs and so on. Now we don't deny the changes, we see that, we see different species of finches, different species of dogs, but then they put it all together in this evolutionary tree, but that's what you don't observe. You don't observe that. That's belief there. That's their historical science. All right? We’d say it’s wrong.
But what you do observe, you do observe different species of dogs, different species of finches, but there are limits, and you don't see one kind changing into another. Actually, we're told that if you teach creation in the public schools, that's teaching religion; [while] teaching evolution is “science.” I'm going to say, wait a minute! Actually, the creation model here, based on the Bible, observational science confirms that. It's what you observe. You don't observe this tree. Actually, it's the public school textbooks that are teaching a belief and imposing it on students, and they need to be teaching them observational science. To understand the reality of what's happening. What we found is that public school textbooks present the evolutionary tree as “science”, but reject the creation “Orchard” as religion. But observational science confirms the creation Orchard, so public school textbooks are rejecting observational science and imposing a naturalistic religion on students. The word evolution has been hijacked, using a bait and switch, to indoctrinate students to accept evolutionary belief as observational science.
Let me introduce you to another scientist, Richard Lensky, at Michigan State University. He is a great scientist; he is known for culturing E. coli in the lab, and he found, there were some E. coli that seem to develop the ability to grow on a substrate, on citrate as a substrate. Lensky is mentioned in this book "Evolution in the Lab." So the ability to grow on citrate is said to be evolution, and there are those who say, “Hey, this is against the creationists.” For instance, Jerry Coyne, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago says, "Lensky's experiment is also yet another poke in the eye for anti- evolutionists." He says, “The thing I like most is, it says you can get these complex traits evolving by a combination of unlikely events.” He says, “That's just what creationists say can't happen." But is it a poke in the eye for anti-evolutionists? Is it really seeing complex traits evolving? What does it mean that some of these bacteria are able grow on citrate? Let me introduce you to another biblical creationist who is a scientist, Andrew Fabbich.
Video clip: “My name is Andrew Fabbich, and I got my PhD at the University of Oklahoma in microbiology. I teach at ?Liberty? University, and I do research on E. coli in the intestine. I have published in secular journals, from the American Society for Microbiology, including infection and immunity, The American Society for Immunology, as well as several others, and my work has been cited last year in the journals Nature, etc., etc. While I was taught nothing but evolution, I don't accept that position. I do my research from a creation perspective. When I look at the evidence that people cite as the E. coli supposedly evolving, over 30 years, over 30,000 generations in the lab, people say that it is now able to grow on citrate. I don't deny that it grows on citrate, but it's not any kind of new information. The information is already there, it's just a switch that gets turned on and off. That's what they reported, and there is nothing new.
Ham: See, students need to be told what's really going on here. Certainly, there is change, but it is not change necessary from molecules-to-man.
Now let's look at another prediction: what about evidence confirming one race?
Well when we look at the human population, we see lots of differences, but based on Darwin's ideas on human evolution presented in the Descent of Man, I mean Darwin did teach the descent of man: there are lower races and higher races. Would you believe it? Back in the 1900’s, one of the most popular biology textbooks used in the public schools in America taught this: “At the present time there exist upon the earth five races or varieties of man . . .and finally the highest type of all, the Caucasians represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America.” Can you imagine if that was in the public schools today? And yet that's what was taught, but it was based on Darwin's ideas that are wrong. [If] You have a wrong foundation, you’re going to have a wrong world view.
Now, had they started from the Bible and the creation account in Genesis, what did it teach? Well, we’re all descended from Adam and Eve, and we go through the Tower of Babel with different languages, and so different people groups formed, with distinct characteristics, but we expect-- we say, you know what? That means biologically there’s only one race of humans.
I mentioned Dr. Venter before. He was a researcher with the human genome project, and you'll remember in the year 2000 it was headline news, and what we read was this, they had put together a draft of the entire sequence of the human genome and unanimously declared, “There is only one race, the human race.” Wow! Who would have guessed?
You see there, we have observational science confirming the creation account and not confirming Darwin's ideas. There is much more that could be said on each of these topics, but we can't do that in a short time like this, and we could do a lot more research – – I suggest you visit our website, Answers in Genesis, for a lot more information.
The debate topic: "Is creation a viable model of origins in today's scientific era?" I said we need to define the terms “science” and “evolution” and understand how they are being used to impose an anti-God religion on generations of unsuspecting students. You see, I keep emphasizing we do need to understand the difference between the experimental or observational science and historical science. The secularists don't like me doing this, because they don't want to admit there is a belief aspect to what they are saying, and there is. And they can't get away from it.
I can illustrate this with a statement from Bill Nye. Video clip: Nye speaking: “You can show the Earth is not flat. You can show the Earth is not 10,000 years old.”
Ham: I agree you can show the Earth is not flat, for you can observe that. (Video of earth rotating, from space from the Galileo spacecraft.) But you can’t observe the age of the earth. You don't see it. Again, I emphasize there's a big difference between historical science, talking about the past, and observational science, talking about the present. And I believe what's happening is that students are being indoctrinated by the confusion of terms. Hijacking the word “science” and hijacking the word “evolution” in a bait and switch.
Let me illustrate further with this video clip, because here I observe that Bill Nye is equating observational science with historical science, and I also say it's not a mystery when we understand the difference.
Video clip, Nye speaking: These people with their deeply held religious beliefs, they embrace that whole literal interpretation of the Bible as written in English, as a worldview, and at the same time they except aspirin, antibiotic drugs, airplanes, but they are able to hold these two worldviews. And this is a mystery.
Ham: actually, I suggest to you it's not a mystery. You see, what [when] I'm talking about antibiotics, aspirin, smoke detectors, jet planes, that's Ken ham the observational science bloke. ( I am Australian; we call guys “blokes”.) But when you're talking about creation and thousands of years, or the age of the earth, that's Ken Ham the historical science bloke, I’m willing to admit that. When Bill Nye is talking about aspirin and antibiotics, jet planes, smoke detectors, he does a great job of that. I used to enjoy watching him on television, too; that's Bill Nye the observational science guy. When he is talking about evolution and millions of years, I'm challenging him that that's Bill Nye the historical science guy. And I challenge the evolutionists to admit the belief aspects of their particular worldview.
Now, at the Creation Museum only two rooms cover our beliefs from the Bible, but we also do teach people the difference between beliefs and what we can actually observe in an experiment. I believe we're teaching people to think critically, to think in broad terms about science. I believe it is the creationists who should be educating kids out there, because we’re teaching them the right way to think. We admit our origins or historical science is based on the Bible, but we are challenging evolutionists to admit the belief aspects of evolution, and to be out front about the difference here. As I said, I am only too ready to admit that my historical science is based on the Bible.
Let me go on and define creation as we use it. By creation, we mean here at Answers in Genesis, the account [of origins] found in the Bible. We take Genesis as literal history, as Jesus did. And here at the Creation Museum we walk people through that history, beginning with true creation, the perfect creation, where God made Adam and Eve, animal kinds, sea creatures, etc., and then sin and death entered the world; so there was no death before sin --that means not having billions of dead things before man sinned. Then [was] the catastrophe of Noah's flood. If there was a global flood, you'd expect to find billions of dead things buried in rock layers, laid down by water all over the Earth. (I have to say that, because our supporters would want me to.) And what do you find? Billions of dead things buried In rock layers, laid down by water all over the Earth. Confusion at the Tower of Babel, where God gave different languages, so you get different people groups. So this is the geological and astronomical, anthropological, biological history as recorded in the Bible; so this is concerning what happened in the past, that explains the present. And then of course, that God’s Son stepped into history, Jesus Christ, the God-man to die on the cross, [was] raised from the dead, and one day, there is going to be a new heaven and a new earth to come [the Consummation].
You know, not only is this an understanding of history to explain the geology, biology, astronomy and so on, necessary to connect the present with the past, but it's also a foundation for our whole worldview. For instance, in Matthew 19, when Jesus was talking about marriage, he said, “Have you not read, that he who made them male and female?, and said, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” He quoted from Genesis, as he taught history, from Genesis 1 and 2. God invented marriage, by the way, that's where marriage comes from, and it is to be a man and a woman. Then, not only marriage, ultimately every single biblical doctrine of theology is directly or indirectly, is founded in Genesis. Why is there sin in the world? Genesis. Why is there death? Genesis. Why do we wear clothes? Genesis. Why did Jesus die on the cross? Genesis.
It's a very important book. It's foundational to all Christian doctrine. And you see, when you look at what I call the Seven C’s of history, that we walk people through here at the museum, think about how it all connects together. A perfect Creation [connects to Consummation]; it’ll all be perfect again in the future. Sin and death entered the world, [Corruption] that’s why God’s Son [Christ] died on the cross, to conquer death and offer the free gift of salvation. The Flood of Noah’s Day [Catastrophe], a reminder that the Flood was a judgment, because of man's wickedness, but at the same time a message of God's grace and salvation. As Noah and his family had to go through a door to be saved, so we need to go through a door to be saved. Jesus Christ said, “I am the door, if any man enters in, he will be saved.” We make no apology about the fact that what we’re all about is this: Romans 10:9: If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Now, as soon as I say that, people say, “See, if you allow creation in the schools, if you allow students to even hear about it, this is religion.”
Let me illustrate this: talking about the recent battle in Texas over the textbooks in the public schools. The newspaper report said this: “Textbooks and classroom curriculum battles have long raged in Texas, pitting creationists-- those who see God's hand in the creation of the universe, against academics“ –-stop right there—notice: Creationists, Academics. Creationists can’t be Academics; Creationists can’t be scientists. See, It’s the way things are worded out there. It’s an indoctrination that’s going on.
“ . . who worry about religious and political ideology trumping scientific fact.” Wait a minute—what do you mean by science? Are you talking about what we observe, or are you talking about your beliefs about the past?
Now, Kathy Miller is the president of the Texas Freedom Network, and she has vocally spoken out about this textbook battle there, in Texas, and the mission statement of the organization that she is president of says that the Texas Freedom Network advances a mainstream agenda of religious freedom and individual liberties, to counter the religious right. Religious freedom, individual liberties! And then she makes this statement, "Science education (what does she mean by science?) should be based on mainstream science education, not on the personal ideological beliefs of unqualified reviewers." Wait a minute; they want religious liberty, and not personal ideological beliefs? I have said this, "Public school textbooks are using the same word ‘science’ for observational and historical science. They arbitrarily define science as naturalism and outlaw the supernatural. They present molecules-to-man evolution as fact”. And they are imposing the religion of naturalism or atheism on generations of students. They are imposing their ideology upon the students, and everything is explained by natural processes. That is a religion. What does she mean by religious liberty? They tolerate their religion.
See, the battle is really about authority. It's more than just science or evolution or creation; it’s about who's the authority in this world. Man or God? If you start with naturalism, then what about morals? Who decides right and wrong? That's subjective. Marriage-- it's whatever you want it to be. Let's get rid of old people, I mean why not? I mean, they're just animals, costing us a lot of money. Abortion-- get rid of spare cats, get rid of spare kids, we’re all [just] animals.
But if we start with God's Word, there are moral absolutes. God decides right from wrong. Marriage is between one man and one woman. The sanctity of life-- we care for old people, they are made in the image of God. Life begins at fertilization, so abortion is killing a human being. We do see the collapse of Christian morality in our culture and increasing moral relativism, because generations of kids are being taught the religion of naturalism and that the Bible can't be trusted. So again I say, creation is the only viable model of historical science, confirmed by observational science in today's modern scientific era.
You know what? I am a science teacher. I want to see kids taught science. I love science. I want to see more Dr. Demadians in the world. You know, if we teach them that the whole universe is the result of natural processes and not designed by a Creator God, they might be looking in the wrong places or have the wrong ideas when they are looking at the creation, in regard to how you develop technology. Because if they look at it as just random processes, that could totally influence the way they think. If they understand there was a perfect world marred by sin, that could have a great effect, then, on how they then look for overcoming diseases and problems in the world. I want children to be taught the right foundation, which [is] there is a God who created them and loves them and died on the cross for them, and that they are special and made in the image of God.
Bill Nye Presentation (30 minutes)
Thank you very much, Mr. Ham. I learned something. Thank you.
Well let’s take it back around to the question at hand, does Ken ham's creation model hold up? Is it viable? So for me of course [inaudible].
We are here in Kentucky on layer upon layer of limestone. I stopped at the side of the road today and just picked up a piece of limestone that has a fossil, right there. Now in these many, many layers, in this the vicinity of Kentucky, there are coral animals. Fossils, zoris antelli (sp?). When you look at it closely, you can see that they lived their entire lives [here?]. They live typically 20 years, sometimes more than that if the water conditions are correct, and so we're standing on millions of layers of ancient life. How could those animals have lived their entire lives and formed these layers in just 4000 years? There isn't enough time since Mr. Ham's flood for this limestone that we are standing on to have come into existence.
My scientific colleagues go to places like Greenland, the Arctic, they go to Antarctica and they drill into the ice with hollow drill bits; it's not that extraordinary, and many have probably done it yourselves, like with hole saws to put locks in doors, for example. And we pull out long cylinders of ice, long ice rods. And these are made of snow and ice. It's called snow ice. Snow ice forms over the winter, and snow flakes fall, and are crushed down by subsequent layers. They’re crushed together, and are entrapping little bubbles. The bubbles must needs be [from] ancient atmospheres; there's nobody running around with a hypodermic needle squirting ancient atmosphere into the bubbles. And we find certain of the cylinders to have 680,000 layers. 680,000 snow winter/summer cycles. How could it be that just 4000 years ago, all of this ice formed? We can just run some numbers. Let's see we have 680,000 layers of snow ice, and 4000 years since the great flood, that means we need 170 winter/summer cycles every year. For the last 4000 years. Wouldn't someone have noticed that? Wouldn't someone have notice there's been winter/summer, winter/summer for 170 times in one year?
If we go to California, we find the enormous stands of Bristlecone pines. Some of them are over 6000 years old. 6800 years old. There is a famous tree in Sweden is 9550 years old. How could these trees be there if there was an enormous flood just 4000 years ago? You can try this yourself, everybody. I don't mean to be mean to trees, but get a sapling and put it under water for a year. It will not survive. Nor will it’s seeds. It just won't make it. So how could these trees be that old if the Earth is only 4000 years old?
Now when we go to the Grand Canyon, which is an astonishing place, I recommend to everybody in the world to someday visit the Grand Canyon. You find layer upon layer of ancient rocks. And if there was this enormous flood, that you speak of, wouldn't there have been churning, bubbling and roiling. How would these things have settled out? Your claim that they settle out in an extraordinary short amount of time is for me not satisfactory. You can look at these rocks, and you can look at rocks that are younger, and you can look at seashores where there is sand, which is what geologists on the outside do: study the rate at which soil is deposited at the ends of rivers and deltas, and we can see that it takes a long, long time for the sediments to turn to stone. Also, you can see in this picture, that one type of sediment has intruded on another type. Now if that was uniform, wouldn't we expect it to all be even without intrusion?
Furthermore, we can find places in the Grand Canyon where will you can see an ancient riverbed on that side going to an ancient riverbed on that side, and the Colorado river has cut through it. And by the way, if this great flood drained through the Grand Canyon, wouldn't there have been a Grand Canyon on every continent? How could we not have Grand Canyons everywhere, If this water drained away in this extraordinarily short amount of time, 4000 years? When you look at the layers carefully, you find these beautiful fossils. When I say beautiful, I am inspired by them, they are remarkable, because we are looking at the past. [Slide: geologic column] You find down low what you might consider as rudimentary sea animals. Up above, you’ll find the famous trilobites; above that you might find some clams or oysters, and above that you'll find some mammals. You never, ever find a higher animal mixed in with the lower one. You never find a lower one trying to swim its way to a higher one. If it all happened in such an extraordinarily short amount of time, If this water drained away just like that, wouldn't we expect to see some turbulence? And by the way, anyone here, really, if you can find one example of that anywhere in the world, the scientists of the world challenge you, would embrace you, you'd be a hero. You would change the world. If you could find one example of that anywhere. People have looked and looked and have not found a single one. ???
Now here is an interesting thing. [Slide containing over 50 skulls of apes] These are fossil skulls that people have found all around the world; by no means representative of all the fossil skulls, that have been found, but these are all over the place. Now if you were to look at these, I can assure you not any of them is a gorilla. Right? If, as Mr. Ham and his associates claim, there was just man, and then everybody else; there were just humans and all other species, where would you put modern humans among these skulls? How did all these skulls get all over the Earth, in such an extraordinary fashion? Where would you put us? I can tell you, we are on there and, and I encourage you when you go home to look it up.
Now, one of the extraordinary claims associated with Mr. Ham's worldview, is that this giant boat, a very large wooden ship went aground safely on a mountain in what we now call the Middle East. And so places like Australia, are populated, then by animals whose [ancestors] somehow managed to get from the Middle East all the way to Australia, in the last 4000 years. That to me is an extraordinary claim. We would expect then, somewhere between the Middle East and Australia, we would expect to find evidence of kangaroos. We would expect to find some fossils, some bones; sometime during the last 4000 years, somebody would've been hopping along there and died along the way, and we would find them. And furthermore, there is a claim that there was a land bridge that allowed these animals to get from Asia all the way to the continent of Australia, and that land bridge has [since] disappeared in the last 4000 years. No navigator, no diver, no U.S. Navy submarine, no one's ever detected any evidence of this, let alone any fossils of kangaroos. So your expectation is not met. It doesn't seem to hold up.
So let's see, if there were 4000 years since Ken Ham’s flood, and let's say, as he said many times, there are 7000 “kinds” [of animals]. Today, the very, very lowest estimate is that there are about 8.7 million species. But a much more reasonable estimate is 50 million. Or even 100 million, if you include viruses and bacteria and all the beetles that must be extant in the tropical rain forest, that we haven't yet found; so we will take a number that we think is pretty reasonable, 16 million species today.
OK, If these came from 7000 kinds, let's say this is subtracted from 16 million, that's 15,993,000. In 4000 years we have 365 and a quarter days per year, we would expect to find 11 new species every day. So you go out to your yard, you wouldn’t just find a new bird, you’d find a different kind of bird. A whole new species of bird. Every day, a new species of fish, a new species of organism you can't see, I mean this would be enormous news. The last 4000 years people would've seen these changes among us, so the Cincinnati Inquirer, I imagine, would carry a column right next to the weather report, showing new species and would list these 11 every day. But we see no evidence of that; there is no evidence of these species; there just simply isn't enough time.
Now as you may know, I was graduated from engineering school, and I got a job at Boeing; I worked on 747’s, and everybody laughs, I was very well supervised and everything is fine. There is a tube in the 747 that I kind of think of as my tube. But that aside, I traveled the highways of Washington State quite a bit. I was a young guy, I had a motorcycle; I used to go mountain climbing in Washington State and the State of Oregon. And you can drive along and find these enormous boulders on top of the ground; enormous rocks, huge, sitting on top of the ground. Now, out there in regular academic pursuits, regular geology, people have discovered there used to be a lake in what is now Montana which we charmingly refer to as Lake Missoula. It's not there now, but the evidence for it, if I may, is overwhelming. And so, an ice dam would form at Lake Missoula, and once in a while it would break. You would build up and then break; there were multiple floods in my old state of Washington. (Go Seahawks!) Anyway, you drive along the road, and there are these rocks. If, as is asserted here at this facility, that the heavier rocks would sink to the bottom, during a flood event, the big rocks, and especially their shape, instead of aerodynamically, are hydrodynamically, the water is changing [their] shape as water flows past, you would expect them to sink to the bottom. But here are these enormous rocks right on the surface. And there is no shortage of them--if you go driving through the state of Oregon, they are readily available. So how could those be there? If the Earth is just 4000 years old? How could they be there if this one flood caused that?
Another remarkable thing, that I would like everybody to consider, inherent in this worldview is that somehow Noah and his family were able to build a wooden ship that would house 14,000 individuals. 7000 kinds, and there’s a boy and a girl for each one of those. So there were about 14,008 people, and these people were unskilled; as far as everybody knows they had never built a wooden ship before. Furthermore, they had to get all these animals on there and had to feed them; and I understand that Ken Ham has some explanations for that, which I frankly find extraordinary, but this is the premise of the day.
And we can then run a test. Scientific tests. People in the early 1900s built an extraordinarily large wooden ship, the Wyoming. It was a six-masted schooner, the largest one ever built, and it had a motor on it, for winching and cables and stuff. But this boat had a great difficulty. It was not as big as the Titanic, but it was a very long ship. It would twist in the sea. It would twist this way [acting out the first torsional mode], this way [first vertical bending mode], and this way [first horizontal bending mode]. With all that twisting, it leaked, and it leaked like crazy. The crew could not keep the ship dry. And indeed, it eventually foundered and sank, and the loss of all 14 hands. So there were 14 crewmen aboard a ship built by very skilled shipwrights in New England. These guys were the best in the world at wooden shipbuilding, and they could not build a boat as big as the Ark is claimed to be to have been. Is that reasonable? Is that possible? That the best shipbuilders in the world could not do what eight unskilled people, men and their wives, were able to do?
If you visit the national zoo, in Washington DC, it's 163 acres, and they have 400 species; by the way, this picture that you are seeing was taken by spacecraft in space, orbiting the earth. If you told my grandfather, let alone my father that we had that capability, they would've been amazed. That capability comes from a fundamental understanding of gravity, material science, and of physics, and life science where you go looking. This place as often in any zoo, is often criticized for how it treats its animals. That's 400 species on 163 acres – – is it reasonable that Noah and his colleagues, his family, were able to maintain 14,000 animals and themselves and feed them aboard a ship that was bigger than anyone has ever been able to build?
Now here's the thing: what we want in science, science as practiced on the outside, is an ability to predict. We want to have a natural law that is so obvious and clear, and so well understood, that we can make predictions about what will happen. We can predict that we can put a spacecraft in orbit, and take a picture of Washington DC. We can predict, that if we provide this much room for an elephant, it will live healthfully for a certain amount of time.
So I'll give you an example. In the explanation provided by traditional science of how we came to be, [Slide: cladistics diagram of species, the tree of life], we find, as Mr. Ham alluded to many times in his recent remarks, we find a sequence of animals in what geologists call the fossil record. When we look at the layers, that you find in Kentucky, if you look at them carefully, you find a sequence of animals. A succession. And as one might expect, when you're looking at old records, there's some pieces that seem to be missing, a “Gap.” So scientists got to thinking about this. There are lungfish that jump from pond to pond in Florida [and] end up in people’s swimming pools; and there are amphibians, frogs, toads, and so people wondered if there wasn't a fossil, or an organism, an animal that had lived that had characteristics of both.
People over the years have found that in Canada there was clearly a fossil marsh, a place that used to be a swamp that dried out, and they found all kinds of happy swamp fossils there: ferns, organisms, animals, fish that were recognized, and people realized that this age of the rocks there, as computed by traditional scientists, the age of the rocks, this would be a reasonable place to look for a fossil animal that lived there. And indeed scientists found it-Tiktaalik. This fish-lizard guy. (Slide: artist conception of fossil) And they found several specimens. It wasn't just one individual. They made a prediction that this animal would be found, and it was found. So far Mr. Ham and his worldview, the Ken Ham creation model, does not have this capability. It cannot make predictions. And show results.
Here is an extraordinary one that I find remarkable. There are certain fish, the topminnows, that have the remarkable ability to have sex with other fish, traditional fish sex, and they can have sex with themselves. Now, one of the old questions in life science everybody, for the old chin strokers, is why is any organism, whether you're an ash tree, a sea jelly, a squid, a marment, why does anybody have sex? I mean, there are more bacteria in your tummy right now than there are humans on earth. Bacteria, they don't bother with that, man, I mean, they just slit themselves in half, and they get new bacteria; hey, let's go. But why does anyone – – think of all the trouble a rose bush goes through to make a flower, and the thorns, and the bees fly around and interact – – why did anybody bother with all that? And the answer seems to be, your enemies. And your enemies are not lions and tigers and bears. Your enemies are germs and parasites. That's what's going to get you: Germs and parasites.
My first cousin’s son died tragically from essentially the flu. This is not some story I heard, this was my first cousin once removed. Apparently, the virus had the right genes to attack his genes. So when you have sex, you have a new set of genes, a new mixture. So people studied these topminnows, and they found that the ones who reproduced sexually, had fewer parasites than the ones that reproduced on their own, this black spot disease. Wait, there's more – – in these populations, with flooding and so on, when river ponds get isolated, and they dry up, and then the river flows again. In between, some of the fish will have sex with other fish sometimes, and they will have sex on their own, called asexually. And those fish, the ones that are in between, sometimes this, sometimes that, they have an intermediate number of infections. In other words, the explanation provided by evolution made a prediction. And the prediction is extraordinary and subtle, but there it is. How else would you explain it? And to Mr. Ham and his followers, I say this is something we in science want; we want the ability to predict. And your assertion that there is some difference between the natural laws that are used to observe the world today, and the natural laws that existed four thousand years ago, is extraordinary and unsettling.
I travel around, and I have a great many family members in Danville, Virginia, one of the US‘s most livable cities, it is lovely. And I was traveling along and there was a sign in front of a church that said “Big Bang theory: you've got to be kidding me, God.” Now, everybody, why would somebody at the church, a pastor for example, put that sign up, unless he or she didn't believe that the Big Bang was a real thing? I just want to review briefly with everybody, why we except, in the outside world, why we accept the Big Bang.
Edwin Hubble was sitting at Mount Wilson, which is not far from Pasadena California. On a clear day you can look down and see where the Rose Parade goes. It's that close to civilization. But even in the early 1900’s the people who selected this site for astronomy, it's an excellent site, because the clouds and the smog are below you. Edwin Hubble sat there at this very big telescope, night after night, studying the heavens. And he found that the stars are moving apart. The stars are moving apart, and he wasn't sure why, but it was clear that the stars are moving farther and farther apart all the time. So people talked about it for a couple of decades, and then eventually another astronomer, Fred Hoyle just remarked, "Well, it was like there was a Big Bang." There was an explosion. This is to say, since everything is moving apart, it's reasonable that at one time they were all together. And there was a place from whence these things expanded. It was a remarkable insight. But people still questioned it for decades, conventional scientists, questioned it for decades.
These two researchers wanted to listen for radio signals from space, radio astronomy. We have visible light for our eyes; there is a whole ‘nother bunch of waves of lite that are much longer. The microwaves in your oven are about that long, the radar at the airport is about that long, your FM radio signals are about like this, AM radio signals are a couple of soccer fields. They went out listening, and there was this hiss, all the time that wouldn't go away. They thought it might be some loose connector. They plugged in the connector; they rescrewed it, and made it tight. They turned it this way and the hiss was still there. The turned it that way, and it was still there. They thought it was pigeon droppings that had affected the reception of this horn [antenna] it’s called. This thing is still there, it’s in Basking Ridge, NJ; it’s a national historic site, and Arnold Penzias and Robert Wilson had found this cosmic background sound that was predicted by astronomers. Astronomers running the numbers, doing math, predicted that in the cosmos would be left over this echo, this energy from the Big Bang that would be detectable. And they detected it. We built the Cosmic Observatory for Background Emissions, the COBE spacecraft, and it matched exactly the astronomer’s predictions. You’ve got to respect that. It's a wonderful thing.
Now, along that line, is some interest in the age of the earth. Right now it's generally agreed that the Big Bang happened 13.7 Billion Years ago. What we can do on earth-- these elements that we all know on the periodic table of chemicals, and even the ones we don't know, are created when stars explode. I look like nobody, but I attended a lecture by Hans Bethe, who won a Nobel Prize for discovering the process by which stars create all the elements. The one that interested me especially is our good friends rubidium and strontium. Rubidium becomes strontium, spontaneously. It's an interesting thing to me – – a neutron becomes [decays] a proton, and it goes up the periodic table. When Lava comes out of the ground, molten lava, and it freezes and turns to rock, when the melt solidifies, or crystallizes, it locks the rubidium and strontium in place. And so by careful assay, by careful [examination] and being diligent, you can tell when the rock froze. You can tell how old the rubidium and strontium are. And you can get an age for the Earth. When that stuff falls on fossils, you can get a very good idea of how old the fossils are. I encourage you all to go to Nebraska, to Ash Fall State Park, and see the astonishing fossils; it looks like a Hollywood movie. There are rhinoceroses, and there are three-toed horses, In Nebraska. None of those animals are extant today. They were buried catastrophically by a volcano in what is now Idaho; it is now Yellowstone National Park, called a hotspot, or a super volcano. And it's a remarkable thing, apparently, as I can tell you as a Northwesterner around from Mount Saint Helens, (I am on the Mount Saint Helens Board), when it goes off, it gives out a great deal of gas, that’s toxic and knocks these animals out. Looking for relief, they go to a watering hole, and then when the ash comes, they're all buried; it's an extraordinary place.
Now if in the battle days you had heart problems, they would right away cut you open. Now we use a drug based on rubidium, to look at the inside of your heart without cutting you open. Now, my Kentucky friends, I want you to consider this: right now, there is no place in the Commonwealth of Kentucky to get a degree in this kind of nuclear medicine. This kind of drugs as associated with that. I hope you find that troubling. I hope you're concerned about that. You want scientifically literate students in your commonwealth for a better tomorrow for everybody. You can't get this here, you have to go out of state.
Now as far as the distance to stars, understand that this is very well understood. It's February, we look we look at a star in February, we measure the angle to it, we wait six months, we look at that same star again, we measure that angle. It's the same way that carpenters built this building, or the way surveyors surveyed the land. And so by measuring the distance to stars you can figure out how far away it is, that star and the stars beyond and the stars beyond that. There are billions of stars, billions of stars, more than 6000 light years from here. A light year is a unit of distance, not a unit of time. There are billions of stars. Mr. Ham, how can there be billions of stars, more distant than 6000 [light] years, if the world is only 6000 years old? It is an extraordinary claim.
There is another astronomer, Adolphe Quetelet, who remarks first about the “reasonable man.” Is it reasonable that we have ice older by a factor of 100 than you claim the earth is? We have trees which have more tree rings than the Earth is old. That we as have rocks with rubidium and strontium in them, uranium – uranium, and potassium-argon dating, that are far, far older than you claim the Earth is. Could anybody have built an Ark that would sustain better than any ark anybody has ever been able to build on the Earth? So if you're asking me, and I got the impression you were, is Ken Ham’s creation model viable? I say no, absolutely not.
Now one last thing. You may not know that in the U.S. Constitution from the founding fathers, here's the sentence “to promote the progress of science and useful arts.” Kentucky voters. Voters who might be watching online in places like Texas or Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kansas, please-- you don't want to raise a generation of science students who don't understand how we know our place in the cosmos, our place in space, who don't understand natural law. We need to innovate, to keep the United States where it is in the world. Thank you very much. (Applause)
Ken Ham 5-minute rebuttal.
Well first of all, if I were to answer all the points you brought up, you’d think I was going on for millions of years. So I can only deal with some of them, and you mentioned the age of the earth a couple of times, so let me deal with that.
As I said in my presentation, you cannot observe the age of the earth, and I would say that comes under what we call historical/origins science. Now, just so you understand where I'm coming from, yes we build our origins historical science on the Bible. The Bible says God created in six days; the Hebrew word yom as it is used in Genesis 1, with an ordinal number, means ordinary days. Adam was made on Day Six, and so when you add up all those genealogies in the Bible, from Adam to Abraham, about 2000 years from Abraham to Christ, 2000 years Christ to the present, that's how we get 6000 years. So that's where it comes from, just so you know.
Now, a lot of people say, by the way, the Earth's age is 4.5 billion years old. And we have radioactive decay dating methods that bound that. We certainly observe radioactive decay, whether it's rubidium –strontium, uranium – lead, or potassium-argon, but when you are talking about the past, you have a problem. Let me give you an example. In Australia there were engineers that were trying to search out about a coal mine, so they drilled down and they found a basalt layer, or lava flow that had woody material in it, branches and twigs and so on, and when Dr. Andrew Snelling, our PhD geologist sent that to a lab in Massachusetts in 1994, they used the potassium-argon dating method and dated it at 45 million years old. Well, we also sent the wood to the radiocarbon section of the same lab, and they dated it at 45,000 years old. 45,000 year old wood in 45 million year old rock. The point is, there is a problem.
Let me give another example of the problem: there's a lava dome, which started to form in the 1980s after Mount Saint Helens erupted. In 1994, Dr. Steve Austin another PhD geologist actually sampled the rock there, he took whole rock, crushed it, and sent it to the same lab, actually I believe, and got a date of 0.35 million years. When he separated out the minerals amphibole and pyroxene and used potassium-argon dating, he got dates of 0.9 and 2.8 million years [respectively].
My point is, all these dating methods actually give all sorts of different dates. In fact, different dating methods on the same rock will [often] show all sorts of different dates. You see, there are lots of assumptions in regard to radioactive dating. Number one, for instance, the amounts of the parent and daughter isotope at the beginning, when the rock formed-- you have to know them, but you weren't there; you see, that's historical science. Assumption two: that all daughter atoms measured today must have only been derived in situ as a result of radioactive decay of parent atoms. In other words, it's a closed system, but you don't know that. And there is a lot of evidence that that's not so. Assumption number three: the decay rates have remained a constant. That's just some of them; there's others as well. The point is, there are lots of assumptions in regard to dating methods, and there is no dating method that you can use that you can absolutely age date a rock – – there's all sorts of differences out there.
Now, I do want to address the bit ??? you brought up about Christians believing in millions of years . Yeah, there are a lot of Christians out there who believe in millions of years, but I’d say they have a problem. I am not saying they are not Christians, because salvation is conditioned on faith in Christ, not on the age of the earth. But there is an inconsistency from what the Bible teaches. If you believe in millions of years, you’ve got death that brought suffering, disease over millions of years leading to man. Because that is what you see in the fossil record. The Bible makes it very clear: death is the result of man’s sin. In fact, the first death was in the Garden, when God killed an animal and clothed Adam and Eve, the first blood sacrifice pointing towards what would happen with Jesus Christ, who would be the one who would die once and for all. Now if you believe in millions of years, as a Christian, in the fossil record there is evidence of animals eating each other; the Bible says originally all the animals and man were vegetarian. We weren't told we could eat meat until after the flood. There are diseases represented in the fossil record, like brain tumors; but the Bible says that God made everything very good. [Genesis 1:31] God doesn't call brain tumors "very good". There are fossilized thorns in the fossil record, said to be hundreds of millions of years old. The Bible says thorns came after the curse, so these two things can't be true at the same time.
You know what? There’s hundreds of dating methods out there, (slide: list, not legible) hundreds of them. Actually 90% of them contradict billions of years. And the point is, all such dating methods are fallible, and I claim there is only one infallible data method, the witness who was there and knows everything, and He told us. And that's from the Word of God, and that's why I would say the earth is only 6000 years. And as Dr. Faulkner said, there is nothing in astronomy and certainly Dr. Snelling would say there is nothing in geology to contradict a belief in a young age for the Earth and universe.
Bill Nye 5-minute rebuttal.
Thank you very much. Let me start with the beginning. If you find 45 million-year-old rock on top of 45,000 year old trees maybe the rocks slid on top. Maybe that's it. That seems a much more reasonable explanation than it's impossible.
As far as dating goes, actually the methods are very reliable. One of the mysteries, or interesting things that people in my business, especially at the Planetary Society are interested in, is why all asteroids seem to be so close to the same date? In age, 4.5 to 4.6B Years. It's a remarkable thing. People at first expected a little more of a spread.
So I understand that you take the Bible as written in English, translated many, many times over the last three millennia as to be a more accurate, or more reasonable assessment of the natural laws we see around us than what I and everybody in here can observe. That to me is unsettling, troubling.
And then, about the disease thing, are the fish sinners? Have they done something wrong, to get diseases? That is sort of an extraordinary claim, that takes me a little past what I'm comfortable with.
And then, as far as "you can’t observe the past", I have to stop you right there; that's what we do in astronomy. All we can do in astronomy is look at the past. By the way, you are looking at the past right now. Because the speed of light bounces off of me and gets to your eyes, and I am delighted to see that the people in the back of the room appear just that much younger than the people in the front. So this idea that you can separate the natural laws of the past from the natural laws that we have now I think is at the heart of our disagreement. I don't see how we are ever going to agree with that, if you insist that natural laws have changed. It's ah, for lack of a better word, it's magical. I have appreciated magic since I was a kid, but it's not really what we want in conventional mainstream science.
Your assertion that all the animals were vegetarians before they got on the Ark, that's really remarkable. I have not spent a lot of time with lions, but I can tell they have teeth that really aren’t set up for broccoli. That these animals were vegetarians until the Flood, is something that I would ask you to provide a little more proof for. I give you the lions’ teeth, you give me verses as translated in the English over 30 centuries, so that's not enough evidence for me. If you've ever played telephone –I did, I remember very well in kindergarten where you have a secret, and you whisper it to the next person, to the next person, to the next person, things often go wrong. So it’s very reasonable to me that instead of lions being vegetarians on the Ark, lions are lions, and the information that you use to create your world view is not consistent with what I, as a reasonable man, would expect.
So, I want everybody to consider the implications of this. If we accept Mr. Ham’s point of view, that the Bible as translated into American English, serves as a science text, and that he and his followers will interpret that for you, I want you to consider what that means. It means that Mr. Ham’s word, or his interpretation of these other words is somehow to be more respected than what you can observe in nature, what you can find literally in your backyard in Kentucky. It is a troubling and unsettling point of view, and it is one I would very much like you to address when you come back.
As far as the five races that you mentioned, it's kind of the same thing. The five races were claimed by people who were of European descent, and they said, hey, we're the best. Check us out. And that turns out to be, if you've ever traveled anywhere or done anything, not to be that way. People are much more alike than they are different. So, are we supposed to take your word for English words translated over the last 30 centuries, instead of what we can observe in the universe around us?
Ken Ham’s Counter-Rebuttal
First of all, Bill, just so-- I just don't want any misunderstanding here, that is, the 45,000 year old wood was inside the basalt. So, It was encased in the basalt. And that's why I was making that particular point, and I would also say that natural law hasn’t changed. As I talked about, I said we have the laws of logic and the uniformity of nature and that only makes sense when a biblical worldview anyway, under a Creator God who set up those laws, and that’s why we can do experimental science, because we assume those laws are true, and they'll be true tomorrow.
I do want to say this, that you said a few times, you know, “Ken Ham's view, or Ken Ham's model”; it's not just Ken Ham's model. We have a number of PhD scientists on our own staff. I had video quotes from some scientists: it's Dr. Damadian's model, it's Dr. Faulkner’s model, Dr. Snelling's model, Dr. Purdom’s model, and so on. If you go on our website, there are lots of creation scientists who agree with exactly what were saying concerning the Bible’s account of creation. So it's not just my model in that sense. [no mention of CRS or reviewed journals.]
There is so much that I could say, but as I listen to you, I believe you're confusing terms in regard to species and kinds, because we are not saying that God created all the species—we’re saying God created "Kinds." We are not saying species went on the Ark, we’re saying “Kinds;” in fact we have researchers who are working on [to determine] what is a “Kind.” For instance, there's a number of papers published on our website; for instance, they look at dogs and say, this one breeds with this one, and this one and this one, and you can look at all the papers around the world, and take them all together, and say that obviously represents one “Kind.” In fact since they’ve been doing that research, they have predicted probably less than actually 1000 kinds were on Noah’s ark, which means just over 2000 animals, and the average sized land animal is not that big, so there was plenty of room on the Ark.
I also believe that a lot of what you were saying is really illustrating my point. You were talking about tree rings and ice layers and talking about kangaroos getting to Australia, and all sorts of things like that, but you see we’re talking about the past; we weren't there. We didn't see those tree rings actually forming. We didn't see those layers being laid down. Now, In 1942 for instance there were some planes that landed on the ice field in Greenland, and they found them 46 years later, I think it was, 3 miles away from the original location with 250 feet of ice buried on top of them, so ice can build up catastrophically. If you assume one layer per year or something like that, it’s like the dating methods, you are assuming things in regard to the past that are not necessarily true.
In regards to lions and teeth, most bears have teeth very much like a lion, or tiger, and yet most bears are primarily vegetarian. The panda, if you look at its teeth, you could say, maybe it should be a savage carnivore, but he eats mainly bamboo. The little fruit bat in Australia has really sharp teeth; it looks like a savage little creature and yet it lives on fruit. And so, just because an animal has sharp teeth doesn't mean it's a meat eater, it just means it has sharp teeth. So again, it really comes down to our interpretation of these things.
I think, too, in regard to the Missoula example that you gave, you know creationists do believe there has been post-flood catastrophism. Noah's flood certainly was a catastrophic event. But there have been post-flood catastrophes since that time as well.
And again, with regards to historical science, why would you say that Noah was unskilled? I mean, how did you meet Noah? God is a Jew ?? And really, it's an evolutionary view of origins, I believe. Because you’re thinking in terms of people before us were not as good as us. Hey, there are civilizations that existed in the past that exhibited technology that we cannot even understand today, how they did some of the things that they did.
Who says Noah couldn’t build a big boat? By the way, the Chinese and the Egyptians built boats. In fact, some of our research indicates that some of the wooden boats that were built had three layers interlocking so they wouldn't twist like that, which is why here at the Creation Museum, we have considered on the Ark, which we built 1% of the ark to scale, and it shows three interlocking layers like that.
And one last thing, pertaining to the speed of light, and that is I'm sure you're aware of the horizon problem, and that’s from a Big Bang perspective, even the secularists have a problem getting light and radiation out to the universe, to be able to exchange with the rest of the universe and even to give?? background radiation, and their model of 15 billion years or so, they can only get it about half way. That's why they have inflation theories, which means everyone has a problem concerning the light issue. It seems that people don't understand. We have some models on our website from some of our scientists, who have helped to explain those sorts of things.
Bill Nye Counter Rebuttal
Thank you Mr. Ham, but I am completely unsatisfied. You did not, in my view, address fundamental questions: 680,000 years of snow ice layers, which require winter/summer cycles.
Let’s say you have 2000 kinds instead of 7000; that makes the problem even more extraordinary, multiplying 11 by what, 3 ½, we get to 35-40 new species every day. That we don't see, they're not extant. In fact, we know we are losing species, due to mostly human activity and the loss of habitat.
And then as far as Noah being an extraordinary shipwright, I'm very skeptical. The shipwrights my ancestors in my family in New England, they spent their whole life learning to make ships. I mean it's very reasonable perhaps to you that Noah had superpowers and was able to build this extraordinary craft with seven family members, but to me it's just not reasonable.
By the way, the fundamental thing we disagree on Mr. Ham, is this nature of what you can prove to yourself. This is to say, when people make assumptions based on radiometric dating, when they make assumptions about the expanding universe, when they make assumptions about the rate in which genes change in populations of bacteria in the laboratory growth media, they are making assumptions based on previous experience. They aren't coming out of whole cloth. So next time you have a chance to speak, I encourage you to explain to us why we should accept your word for it. That natural law changed 4000 years ago. Completely, and there is no record of it. There are pyramids that are older than that. There are human populations that are far older than that. Traditions that go back farther than that. And it's just not reasonable to me that everything changed just four thousand years ago. By “everything” I mean species, the surface of the Earth, the stars in the sky, and the relationship of all the other things living on the earth to humans, it's just not reasonable to me that everything changed like that.
Another thing I would very much appreciate you addressing, there are billions of people in the world who are deeply religious, and I respect that. People get tremendous community and comfort and nurture and support from their religious fellows, and their communities, in their faiths, and churches, and yet they don't accept your point of view. There are Christians who don't accept that the Earth could somehow be this extraordinarily young age. Because of all the evidence around them. So what is to become of them, in your view? And by the way this thing started, as I understand it, Ken Ham’s creation model is based on the Old Testament. So when you bring in, (I'm not a theologian), bring in the New Testament, isn’t that a little out-of-the-box? I am looking for explanations for the creation of the world as we know it based on what I'm going to call “science.” Not historical science, not observational science, "science"; things that each of us can do, akin to what we do when trying to outguess the characters on a murder mystery show, or on Crime Scene Investigation, especially.
What is to become of all those people who don't see it your way? For us in the scientific community, I remind you that when we find an idea that’s not tenable, that doesn't work, that doesn't fly, that doesn’t hold water, whatever idiom you’d like to embrace, we’d throw it away. We are delighted. That's why I say, if you can find a fossil that has swum between the layers, bring it on. You would change the world. If you could show that somehow the microwave background radiation is not a result of the Big Bang, come on, write your paper, [and] tear it up. So your view, that we’re supposed to take your word for this book, written centuries ago, translated into American English, is somehow more important than what I can see with my own eyes is an extraordinary claim. And for those watching online especially, I want to remind you that we need scientists, and especially engineers for the future. Engineers use science to solve problems and make things. We need these people so the United States can continue to innovate and continue to be a world leader. We need innovation, and that needs science education. Thank you
Q & A
1. How does creationism account for the celestial bodies, planets, stars and moons moving further and further apart, and what function does that serve in the Grand Design.
Ham: Well, when it comes to looking at the universe, of course we believe, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And I believe our creationist astronomers would say, "Yeah, you can observe the universe expanding.” In fact, the Bible even says, “He stretches out the heavens.” And it seems to indicate there is an expansion of the universe. And so we would say, yeah, you can observe that with what we call observational science. Exactly why God did it that way, I can't answer that question, of course, because, you know the Bible says God made the heavens for His glory. That's why he made the stars that we see out there, and it's to tell us how great He is and how big He is. And in fact, I think that's the thing about the universe, that the universe is so large, so big.
One of our planetarium programs looks at this, where we go in and show you just how large the universe is, and I think this shows us how great God is. How big He is, that He is an all-powerful God, that He is an infinite God, an infinite, all-knowing God. He created the universe to show us His power. And could you imagine, the thing that's remarkable, in the Bible, it says that on the fourth day of creation, “and, oh, he made the stars also.” It’s almost like, 0h, by the way, I made the stars. And just to show us He is an all-powerful God, an infinite God, He made the stars, and He made them to show us how great He is, and He is an infinite, Creator God, and the more you understand what that means, that God is all-powerful and infinite, we stand back in awe and realize how small we are, we realize, Wow! That God would consider this planet is so significant that He created human beings here, knowing they would sin, yet stepped into history to die for us and to be raised from the dead, offers the free gift of salvation, Wow, what a God! And that's what I would say when I see the universe as it is.
Nye: there is a question that troubles us all, from the time we are the youngest and first able to think; and that is, where did we come from? Where did I come from? And this question is so compelling that we invented the science of astronomy, we've invented life science, we've invented physics, we've discovered these natural laws so we can learn more about our origins and where we came from. To you, when it says “He invented the stars also,” that’s satisfying; you're done. Oh good, OK. To me, when I look at the night sky, I want to know what's out there, I'm driven, I want to know if what's out there is any part of me, and indeed it is. The "0h By the Way," I find compelling, you are satisfied. And the big thing I want from you Mr. Ham, is can you come up with something you can predict? Do you have a creation model that predicts something that will happen in the future?
2. How did the atoms that created the Big Bang get there?
Nye: This is a great mystery. You hit the nail on the head. What was there before the Big Bang? This is what drives us. This is what we want to know, let's keep looking. Let's keep searching. When I was young, it was presumed that the universe was slowing down. The Big Bang, explodes --goes out like that, and so people presumed that it would slow down, that the universe, and gravity especially would hold everything together, and maybe it's going to come back and explode again. People went out with a mathematical expression, is the universe flat? It's a mathematical expression. Will the universe slowdown, slowdown asymptotically and never stop? Well, in 2004 Saul Perlmutter and his colleagues went looking for the rate at which the universe is slowing down. They tried to measure it, and they did it with this extraordinary system of telescopes around the world, looking at the night sky, looking for supernovae. These are a standard brightness that you can infer distances with, and the universe isn't slowing down, it's accelerating. The universe is accelerating in its expansion. And you know why? Nobody knows why. Nobody knows why.
You'll hear the expression nowadays, dark energy, dark matter, which are mathematical ideas that seem to reckon well with what seems to be the gravitational attraction of clusters of stars and galaxies and their expansion. And then, isn't it reasonable that whatever's out there causing the universe to expand is here also? And we just haven't figured out how to detect it. But friends, suppose a science student from the Commonwealth of Kentucky pursues a career in science, and finds out the answer to that big question. Where did we come from? What was before the Big Bang? To us this is wonderful and charming and compelling. This is what makes us get up and go to work every day, as you're trying to solve the mysteries of the universe.
Ham: Bill, I just want to let you know that there actually is a book out there that actually tells us where matter came from. And the very first sentence in that book says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." And really, it's the only thing that makes sense; it's the only thing that makes sense of why, not just matter is here and where it came from, but why matter, when you look at it, you have information and language systems that build up, not just matter. And where did that come from? Because matter can never produce information; it can never produce a language system. Languages only come from intelligence. Information only comes from information. The Bible tells us in Hebrews that the things we see are made from things that are unseen. An infinite Creator God, who created the universe, matter, energy, space, mass, time and the universe, created the information for life. It's only thing it makes logical sense.
3. The overwhelming majority of people in the scientific community have presented valid physical evidence, such as carbon dating and fossils to support evolutionary theory. What evidence, besides what is the literal Word of the Bible, supports creationism?
Ham: Well, first of all, I often hear people talking about the majority. I would agree that the majority of scientists would believe in millions of years, and the majority believe in evolution, but there is a large group out there that certainly don't. The first thing I want to say is, that it's not the majority that’s the judge of truth. There have been many times in the past when the majority has got it wrong. The majority of doctors in England once thought-- after you cut up bodies and go and deliver babies, and wonder why the death rate was high in hospitals until they found out about diseases are caused by bacteria and so on. The majority once thought the appendix was a left-over [vestigial] organ from our evolutionary ancestry and so it's okay to rip it out, when it's diseased just rip it out, but these days we know it's for the immune system and it's very important. It's important to understand that just because the majority believes something, doesn't mean that it's true.
One of the things I was doing, I was making predictions. I made some predictions, there's a whole list of predictions, and we are saying if the Bible is right, and we’re all descendants of Adam and Eve, there is one race. I talked about that. If the Bible is right, then God made Kinds. And we talked about that, and so really the question comes down to the fact that we're again dealing with aspects about the past that cannot scientifically be proved, because you weren't there, based on observational science in the present. Bill and I, we all have the same observational science, we’re here in the present, we can see the radioactivity, but when it comes to entertaining that question, we’re not going to scientifically be able to prove that. That's what we need to admit. But we can be great scientists in the present; the examples I gave you, like Dr. Damadian, or Dr. Stuart Burgess, and we can be investigating in the present. I'm just saying that the past is a whole different thing.
Nye: thank you Mr. Ham. I have to disabuse you of a fundamental idea. If a scientist, If anybody makes a discovery, that changes the way people view natural law, scientists embrace him or her. This person is fantastic, Louis Pasteur, in reference to germs. No, if you find something that changes or disagrees with the common thought, that’s the greatest thing going in science. We look forward to that change, we challenge you to tell us why the universe is accelerating. Tell us why these mothers were getting sick, and we found an explanation for it. The idea that the majority has sway in science is true only up to a point. And I just want to point out, what you may have missed in evolutionary explanations of Life, is it’s the mechanism by which we add complexity. The Earth is getting energy from the sun all the time, and energy is used to make life forms somewhat more complex.
4. How did consciousness come from matter?
Nye: Don't know. This is a great mystery. A dear friend of mine is a neurologist. She studies the nature of consciousness. Now I will say, I used to embrace a joke about dogs, and you can say—this guy remarked, "I've never seen a dog paralyzed by self-doubt." Actually, I have. Furthermore, the thing that we celebrate, that there are three sundials on the planet Mars that bear an inscription to the future, “To those who visit here, we wish you safe journey and the joy of discovery.” It's inherently optimistic, about the future of humankind, that we will one day walk on Mars. But the joy of discovery, that's what drives us; the joy of finding out what's going on.
So we don't know where consciousness comes from, but we want to find out. Furthermore I'll tell you, it's deep within us. I claim that I have spent time with dogs that have had the joy of discovery. It's way inside us. We have one ancestor, as near as we can figure. And by the way, if you can find what we in science call a Second Genesis, which is to say, did life start another way on the Earth? There are researchers in astrobiology, researchers supported by NASA, your tax dollars, that are looking for an answer to that very question. Is it possible that life could start another way? Is there some sort of life form, akin to science fiction, that’s crystal instead of membranous? This would be a fantastic discovery that would change the world. The nature of consciousness is a mystery; I challenge the young people here to investigate that very question. And I remind you, taxpayers and voters who might be watching, if we do not embrace the process of science, I mean them in the mainstream, we will fall behind economically. This is a point I can't say enough.
Ham: Bill I do want to say that there is a book out there that does document where consciousness came from. And in that book, the one who created us said that He made man in His image, and He breathed into man and he became a living being. And so the Bible does document that fact. That's where consciousness came from. God gave it to us.
You know another thing I want to say is, I'm still a little-- I have a mystery. And that is, you talk about the joy of discovery, but you also say that when you die, it's over and that's the end of you. If when you die it's over and you don't even remember you were here, what's the point of the joy of discovery anyway? I mean, it doesn't make sense, I mean, you won't ever know you were ever here and no one who knew you would know they were ever here, ultimately, so what's the point anyway? I love the joy of discovery. Because this is God's creation and I'm finding more out about that, to take dominion for man’s good and for God's glory.
5. What if anything would ever change your mind?
Ham: Well the answer to that question is, I'm a Christian. And as a Christian, I can't prove it to you, but God has definitely shown me very clearly through his Word and shown himself in the person of Jesus Christ. The Bible is the Word of God. I admit that that's where I start from. I can challenge people that you can go and test that, and you can make predictions based on that; you can check the prophecies in the Bible, you can check the statements in Genesis, you can check that and I did a little bit of that tonight, but I can’t ultimately prove that to you. All I can do is to say to someone, look if the Bible really is what it claims to be, if it really is the Word of God and that's what it claims, then check it out. The Bible says if you come to God believing that He is, He will reveal himself to you and you will know; as Christian’s we can say we know. And so, as far as the word of God is concerned, no one's ever going to convince me that the word of God is not true.
But I do want to make a distinction here, and for Bill’s sake: we build models based upon the Bible. And those models are always subject to change. The fact of Noah's flood is not subject to change, but the model of how the flood occurred is subject to change. Because we observe in the current world, and we are able to come up with many different ways that this could have happened, or that could have happened, and that is scientific discovery. That's part of what it's all about.
So, The bottom line is that as a Christian I have a foundation, but as a Christian I would ask Bill a question, "What would change your mind?” I mean, you said , even if you came to faith, you’d never give up on believing in billions of years, if I heard you correctly, you said something like that recently, so that would be my question for Bill.
Nye: We would need just one piece of evidence, we would need the fossil that swam from one layer to another; we would need evidence that the universe is not expanding, we need evidence that the stars appear to be far away, but they're not. We would need evidence that rock layers can somehow form in just four thousand years instead of the extraordinary number. We need evidence that somehow that you can reset the atomic clock and keep the neutrons from becoming protons. Bring out any of those things, and you would change me immediately.
The question I have for you though, fundamentally, in front of the washing??, Mr. Ham, it's What can you prove? What you have done tonight has spent all of the time coming up with explanations about the past. What can you really predict? What can you really prove in a conventional scientific-- or in a conventional, “I have an idea that makes a prediction, and it comes out the way I see it.” This is this very troubling to me.
6. Outside of radiometric methods, what scientific evidence supports your view of the age of the earth.
Nye: The age of the earth. Well, the age of stars. Radiometric evidence is pretty compelling [laughing]. Also the deposition rates. It was Lyell, the geologist who realized, to my recollection, he came up with the first use of the term "deep time". When people realized that the Earth had to be much, much older. In a related story, there was a mystery as to how the Earth could be old enough to allow evolution to have taken place. How could it possibly be 3 billion years old? Lord Kelvin made a calculation that if the sun were made of coal and burning, it could not be more than 100,000 or so years is old. But radioactivity was discovered.
Radioactivity is why the Earth is still as warm as it is. It's why the Earth has been able to sustain its internal heat all these millennia. And this discovery is something like—this question “without radiometric dating , how would you view the age of the earth”, to me it's akin to the expression, well if things were any other way, things would be different. This is to say, that's not how the world is. Radiometric dating does exist. Neutrons do become protons. That's our level of understanding today. The universe is accelerating. These are all provable facts. That there was a flood 4000 years ago is not provable, in fact the evidence for me, at least as a reasonable man, is overwhelming that it couldn't possibly have happened. There is no evidence for it.
Furthermore, Mr. Ham, you never ever quite addressed this issue of the skulls. There are many, many steps in what appears to be the creation, or the coming into being of you and me.
Ham: I just want people to understand, too, in dating the age of the earth at about 4 1/2 billion years, no Earth rock was dated to get that age. They dated meteorites, and because they assumed meteorites were the same age as the Earth, which dates from the formation of the solar system, that's where it comes from. People think they dated rocks on the Earth, but that's just not true.
The other point that I was making, and I'll put this slide back up because I have it here, and that is as I said at the end of my first rebuttal time, that there are hundreds of physical processes that relate to the age of the earth. Here’s the point. Every dating method involves a change with time. And there are hundreds of them. If you assume what was there to start with, and you assume something about the rate, and you know the rate, you make a lot of assumptions. Every dating method has those assumptions. Most of the dating methods, 90% contradict billions of years. There is no absolute age dating method, from scientific method because you can't prove something is either young or old.
7. Can you reconcile the change in the rate the continents are now drifting, versus how quickly they must've traveled at creation 6000 years ago [to get where they are now. ]
Ham: Actually, this again illustrates exactly what I've been talking about in regard to historical science and observational science. We can look at continents today, and we have scientists who addressed this on our website. I'm definitely not an expert in this area, don’t claim to be. But, there are scientists, even Dr. Andrew Snelling, our PhD geologist who has done a lot of research here as well, and there are others out there who are into plate tectonics and continental drift, and certainly we can see movements of the plates today. And if you look at those movements, and if you assume that the rate it's moving today has always been that way in the past, you see that's an assumption. That's the problem when it comes to understanding these things. You can observe movement, but to assume it's always been like that in the past that’s historical science. In fact we would believe basically in catastrophic plate tectonics. As result of the Flood at the time of the Flood there was catastrophic breakup of the Earth's surface, and what we’re seeing now is sort of a remnant of that movement. So we do not deny the movement, or we do not deny plates, but what we can deny is that you can’t use what you see today as a basis to extrapolate into the past. It's the same with the Flood. You can say layers today only get laid down slowly in places, but if there was a global flood, that would change all that.
Again, this places emphasis on historical science versus observational science. I encourage people to go to our website, Answers in Genesis, because we give a number of papers; in fact, very technical papers. Dr. John Baumgardner is one who's written some very extensive work dealing with this very issue. On the basis of the Bible, we believe there was one continent to start with, because [it says] the water was gathered together into one place. So we do believe that the continent has split up, but particularly, the Flood had a lot to do with that.
Nye: It must've been easier for you to explain this a century ago, before the existence of tectonic plates was proven. If you go into a clock store, and there's a bunch of clocks, they are not all going to say exactly the same thing. Do you think that they're all wrong? The reason that we acknowledge the rate at which the continents are drifting apart, or one of the reasons, is we see what is called seafloor spreading in the mid-Atlantic. The Earth's magnetic field has reversed over the millennia, and it leaves a signature in the rocks as the continental plates drift apart. So you can measure how fast the continents are spreading. That's how we do it on the outside. As I said, I lived in Washington State when Mount Saint Helens exploded, that's a result of a continental plate going under another continental plate and cracking, and this water laden rock led to a steam explosion. That's how we do it on the outside.
8. What is your Favorite Color?
Nye: I will go along with most people to say green, and it's an irony that green plants reflect green light.
Ham: Observational science: blue. [holding up his tie.]
9. How do you balance the theory of evolution with the Second Law of Thermodynamics? (What is the Second Law of Thermodynamics?)
Nye: the Second law of Thermodynamics is fantastic, and I recall the words of Eddington, who said, “ if you have a theory that disagrees with Isaac Newton, that's a great theory; if you have a theory that disagrees with relativity, wow, you’ve changed the world, that’s great, but if you're theory disagrees with the second law of thermodynamics, I can offer you no hope. I can't help you. The Second Law of Thermodynamics basically is where you lose energy to heat. This is why car engines are about 30% efficient, that's it thermodynamically, that's why you want the hottest explosion you can get, in the coldest outside environment, yet have a difference between hot and cold. And that difference can be assessed scientifically or mathematically with this word entropy, referring to order of molecules. But the fundamental thing the questioner has missed, is the Earth is not a closed system. So there's energy pouring in here from the sun, if I may, day and night, there's energy pouring in from the other side . And so that energy is what drives living things on earth, especially in our case, plants. By the way, if you are here in Kentucky about a third and maybe a half of the oxygen you breathe is made in the ocean by phytoplankton. And they get their energy from the sun, so the Second Law of Thermodynamics is a wonderful thing; it's allowed us to have everything you see in this room because our power generation depends on the robust and extremely precise computation of how much energy is in burning fuel. Whether it's nuclear fuel or fossil fuel or some extraordinary fuel yet to be discovered in the future, the Second Law of Thermodynamics will govern any turbine that makes electricity that we all depend on and allowed all these shapes to exist.
Ham: let me just say two things if I can, if I can take, a minute goes past, too long. One is, you know what? It is fundamental to understand that you can have all the energy that you want, but energy or matter will never produce life. God imposed information, a language system, and that's how we have life. Matter by itself could never produce life, no matter what energy you had; and even if you had a dead stick, you can have all energy in the world in a dead stick, it is going to decay. And it's not going to produce life.
From a creationists’ perspective, we certainly agree, I mean, before man sinned there was digestion and so on, but because of the Fall, now things are running down. God doesn't hold things together as he did back then. So now we see in regard to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, we’d say sort of, in a sense, it's out of control now, compared to what it was originally. Which is why we have a running down universe.
9. Hypothetically, if evidence existed that caused you to have to admit that the Earth was older than 10,000 years, and creation did not occur over six days, would you still believe in God, and the historical Jesus of Nazareth, and that Jesus was the son of God?
Ham: Well, I've been emphasizing all night, you cannot ever prove, using the scientific method in the present, you can't prove the age of the Earth. So you can never prove it’s old. There is no hypothetical. Because you can't do that.
Now, we can certainly use methods in the present and make an assumption, I mean creationists use methods that change over time. As I said, there's hundreds of physical processes, that you can use to set limits on the age of the universe, but you can't ultimately prove the age of the earth. Not using the scientific method. You can’t ultimately prove the age of universe.
Now, we can look at methods and you can see that there are many methods that contradict billions of years, many methods that seem to support thousands of years, and as Dr. Faulkner said in the little video clip I showed, there's nothing in observational astronomy that contradicts a young universe. I said to you before, and I admit again that the reason I believe in a young universe is because of the Bible's account of origins. I believe that God has always been an infinite creator God, who revealed in his word what he did for us. And when we add up those dates, we get thousands of years. There is nothing in observational science that contradicts that. But as far as the age of the Earth [and] the age of the universe, even when it comes to the fossil record, that's why I really challenge Christians, if you’re going to believe in millions of years for the fossil record, you’ve got a problem with the Bible. And that is, that you had to have death and disease and suffering before sin. So there is no hypothetical in regard to that --you cannot prove scientifically the age of the earth or the universe, bottom line.
Nye: Well of course I just really disagree. You can prove the age of the earth with great robustness by observing the universe around us. And I get the feeling Mr. Ham that you want us to take your word for it. This is to say, your interpretation of the book written thousands of years ago as translated into American English is more compelling for you than everything that I can observe in the world around me. So you and I are not going to see eye to eye.
You said you asserted that life cannot come from something that's not alive. Are you sure? Are you sure enough to say that we should not continue to look for signs of water and life on Mars, that's a waste? You’re sure enough to claim that? That is an extraordinary claim that we want to investigate.
Once again, what is it that you can predict? What do you provide us that can tell us something about the future? Not just about your vision of the past.
10. Is there room for God in science?
Nye: Well, we remind us, there are billions of people around the world who are religious and who accept science, and embrace it, and especially all the technology that it brings us. Is there anyone here who doesn't have a mobile phone? That has a camera. Is there anyone here whose family members have not benefited from modern medicine? Is there anyone here who doesn't use e-mail? Is anybody here who doesn't eat? Because we use information sent from satellites in space to plant seeds on our farms. That's how we’re able to feed 7.1 billion people, where we used to be barely able to feed a billion. So, that's what I see. We have used science as a process.
Science for me is two things. It's a body of knowledge, the atomic number of rubidium. And it is a process, the means by which we make these discoveries. So for me, that's not really that connected with your belief in a spiritual being or a higher power. If you reconcile those two, scientists, the head of the Nationals Institutes of Health, is a devout Christian. There are billions of people in the world who are devoutly religious; they have to be compatible because they're the same people who embrace science. The exception is you Mr. Ham, that's the problem for me. You want us to take your word for what’s written in this ancient text to be more compelling than what we see around us. The evidence for a higher power and spirituality is for me separate. I encourage you to take the next minute and address this problem of the fossils, the problem of the ice layers, the problem of the ancient trees. This problem of the Ark, I mean really address it. And so then we could move forward, but right now I see no incompatibility between religions and science.
Ham: I actually want to take a minute to address the question, and let me just say this, my answer would be, God is necessary for science. In fact, you talk about cell phones, yeah I have a cell phone, I love technology; we have a lot of technology here at Answers in Genesis. And I have the amount??? Or millions of them, or I wouldn't be speaking up here. And satellites, and what you said, you know, about the information we get; I agree with all that. You see, they’re things that can be done in the present, and that's just like I showed you, Dr. Stuart Burgess who invented the satellite. Creationists make great scientists.
You see, God is necessary, because you have to assume the laws of logic, you have to assume the laws of nature, you have to assume the uniformity of nature, and that was a question I had for you, where does that come from if the universe is here by natural processes? Christianity and science, the Bible and science go hand-in-hand. We love science, but again you’ve got to understand, inventing things-- that's very different than talking about our origins. Two very different things.
11. Do you believe the entire Bible is to be taken literally? Eg. Men marrying multiple women.
Ham: Well, remember in my opening address, I said we have to define our terms. So when people ask that question and they say “literally”, I have to know what that person meant by “ literally.” I would say this, if you say “naturally,” and that's what you mean by literally, I would say, yes I take the Bible naturally. Well what do I mean by that? Well, if it's history, as Genesis is, it’s written as a historical narrative, we take it as history. If it's poetry, as you find in the Psalms, then you take it as poetry. It doesn't mean that it doesn't teach truth, but it's not a cosmological account in the sense that Genesis is. There is prophecy in the Bible. And there's predictions in the Bible concerning future events, and so on. So, if you take it as written, naturally according to talkoh??? literature, and you let it speak to you in that way, that’s how I take the Bible, it's God’s revelation to man. He used different people; the Bible says that all scripture is inspired by God, so God led people by His Spirit to write his words.
There's also a misunderstanding regarding the Scripture and in regard to the Israelites. I mean, we have laws in our civil government in America that the government sets. Well, there were certain laws for Israel. You know some people take that all out of context, and then they try to impose it on us today as Christians, and say you should be obeying those laws. It's a misunderstanding of the Old Testament, it's a misunderstanding of the New Testament, and again it's important to take the Bible as a whole, and interpret the Scripture with Scripture. If it really is the word of God, then there's not going to be any contradiction, which there is not. And by the way, when men were married to multiple women, there were lots of problems. The Bible condemns that for what it is; and the Bible is very clear. You know, the Bible is a real book, there are people who do things that were not in accordance with Scripture. It helps you to understand that it's a real book. But marriage was one-man, one-woman. Jesus reiterated that in Matthew 19, as I said in my talk. There were those that did marry multiple women, but were wrong.
Nye: So it sounds to me, just listening to your last 2 minutes, that there are certain parts of this document, the Bible, that you embrace literally, and other parts you consider poetry. So it sounds to me in this last two minutes like you’re going to take what you like and interpret literally, and other passages you’re going to interpret as poetic or descriptions of human events. All that aside, I will say scientifically or as a reasonable man, it doesn't seem possible that all these things that contradict your literal interpretation of those first few passages, all those things that contradict that, I find unsettling when you want me to embrace the rest of it as literal. Now as I say, I’m not a theologian, but when we started this debate, “Is Ken Ham's creation model viable, does it hold water, can it fly? Does it describe anything? I'm still looking for an answer.
11. Have you ever believed that evolution was accomplished through way of a higher power? (This is the intelligent design question). If so, why or why not? Why couldn't evolution not be accomplished in this way?
Nye: The idea that there is a higher power that has driven the course of events in the universe and our own existence is one that you cannot prove or disprove. And this gets into this expression “agnostic,” you can’t know. I’ll grant you that. When it comes to intelligent design, which I understand is your [moderator’s] interpretation of the question, intelligent design has a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of nature. This is to say, the old expression that if you were to find a watch in the field, and you pick it up, you would realize that it was created by somebody who was thinking ahead. Somebody with an organization chart, with somebody at the top, who orders screws from screw manufacturers, and springs from spring manufacturers, and glass crystals from crystal manufacturers. That's not how nature works.
This is the fundamental insight in the explanation for living things, as provided by evolution. Evolution is a process that adds complexity, through natural selection. This is to say that nature has its mediocre designs, eaten by its good designs. And so the perception that there is a designer that created all this is not necessarily true, because we have an explanation that is far more compelling and provides predictions and things are repeatable. I'm sure, Mr. Ham, that you have at your facility an organization chart, and I imagine that you are at the top. And it is a top-down structure. Nature is not that way. Nature is bottom-up. This is the discovery. Things merge up, whatever makes it keeps going, whatever doesn't make it falls away. And this is compelling and wonderful, and fills me with joy, and it's inconsistent with a top-down view.
Ham: what Bill Nye needs to do for me is to show me an example of something or some new function that arose that was not previously possible from the genetic information that was there. And I would claim and challenge you that there is no such example that you can give. That's why I brought up the example in my presentation of Linsky's experiments in regard to E. coli. And there were some that seem to develop the ability to exist on citrate, and as Dr. Fabbichsaid from looking at looking at his research, he’s found that that information was already there; it was just that the genes were being switched on and off. And so there is no example because the information that's there, in the genetic information in different animals and plants and so on, there is no new function that can be added. Certainly there is great variation within kinds, and that's what we look at, but you have to show an example of a brand-new function that never previously was possible, and there is no such example that you can give, anywhere in the world.
12. Name one institution, business or organization other than a church, amusement park, or the Creation Museum that is using any aspect of creationism to produce its product.
Ham: Any scientist out there, Christian or non-Christian that is involved in inventing things, involved in the scientific method, is using creation. They are, because they are borrowing from a Christian worldview; they are using the laws of logic. I keep emphasizing that. I want Bill to tell me, in a view of the universe that is a result of natural processes, to explain where the rules of logic came from. Why should we trust the laws of nature? I mean, are they going to be the same tomorrow as they were yesterday? In fact, some of the greatest scientists that ever lived, Isaac Newton, James Clerc Maxwell, Michael Faraday, were creationists, and as one of them said, you know, he is “thinking God's thoughts after Him.” And that's really, modern science really came out of that thinking, that we can do experiments today, and we can do the same tomorrow, we can trust the laws of logic, we can trust the laws of nature, and if we don’t teach our children correctly about this, they're not going to be innovative. They’re not going to be able to come up with inventions to advance our culture.
I think the person was trying to get out, that are there are lots of secularists out there who are doing good work, and they don't believe in creation, and they come up with great inventions. Yeah, but my point is, they are borrowing from the Christian worldview to do so. And as you saw from the video clips I gave, people like Andrew Fabbich and Dr. Faulkner have published in the secular journals; there are lots of creationists out there that have published; people might not know they are creationists, because the topic did not pertain to creation versus evolution, but there are lots of them out there. On our website, there is a whole list there of scientists who are creationists who are out there doing great work in this world, and helping to advance technology.
Nye: There is a reason that I don't accept your, “Ken Ham model” of creation, is that it has no predictive quality, as you touched on. There is something that I always found troubling. It sounds as though, and next time around you can correct me, it sounds as though you believe your worldview, which is a literal interpretation of most parts of the Bible, is correct. Well what became of all those people who never heard of it? Never heard of you? What became of all those people in Asia, what became of all those first-nations people in N. America, were they condemned and doomed? I mean, I don't know how much time you spend talking to strangers, but they are not sanguine about that, to have you tell them that they are inherently lost, or misguided. It's very troubling.
And you say there are no examples in nature. There are countless examples of how the process of science makes predictions.
13. Since evolution teaches that man is evolving and growing smarter over time, how can you explain the numerous evidences of man's high intelligence in the past?
Nye. Hang on – – there is no evidence that humans are getting smarter. Especially if you ever met my old boss, heh, heh. What happens in evolution-- it's a British word that was used in the mid-1800s, it's survival of the fittest. In this usage, it doesn't mean that the most push-ups or the highest scores on standardized tests. It means that those that fit in the best. Our intellect, such as it is, has enabled us to dominate the world. I mean, the evidence of humans is everywhere. James Cameron just made another trip to the bottom of the ocean, the deepest part of the ocean, the first time since 1960, and when they made the first trip, they found a beer can. Humans are everywhere. And so it is our capacity to reason that has taken us to where we are now. If the germ shows up, as it did, for example, in World War I, where more people were killed by the flu than were killed by the combatants in World War I. That is a troubling, remarkable fact. If the right germ shows up, we'll be taken out. We will be eliminated.
Being smarter is not a necessary consequence of evolution. So far, it seems to be the way things are going, because of the remarkable advantage it gives to us over-- we can control our environment or even change it, as we are doing today, apparently by accident. So, everybody, just take a little while and grasp this fundamental idea: it's how you fit in with nature around you. As the world changed, as it did for example in the age of the ancient dinosaurs, they were taken out by a worldwide fireball apparently caused by an impactor; that's the best theory we have, and we are the result of organisms that lived through that catastrophe. It's not necessarily smarter, it's how you fit in with your environment.
Ham: I remember at University, one of my professors was very excited to give us this evidence for evolution. And he said, look at this, here is an example. These fish have evolved the ability not to see. He gave the example of blind cave fish, and he said, “You see, in this cave they are evolving, because now the ones that are living there, their ancestors had eyes, and now these ones are blind.” And I remember asking him, “Wait a minute, now they can't do something that they could do before.” They might have an advantage in this sense, in a situation that’s dark like that, those with eyes might have developed diseases and died out, but those that had mutations for no eyes are the ones that survived. It's not survival of the fittest; it's the survival of those who survive. And it's survival for those that have the information in those circumstances to survive, but it's not—you’re not getting new information, you're not getting new function. There is no example of that at all. So we need to correctly understand these things.
14. Final Question. What is the one thing, more than anything else upon which you base your beliefs?
Ham: Again, to summarize the things I've been saying, there is a book called the Bible; it's very unique, it's different than any other book out there. In fact I don't know of any other religion that has a book that starts out by telling you that there is an infinite God, and talks about the origin of the universe, the origin of matter and the origin of light and darkness, and the origin of day and night and the origin of the Earth and the origin of dry land and the origin of plants and the origin of the sun, moon and stars, the origin of sea creatures, the origin of land creatures, the origin of man, the origin of women, the origin of death, and sin, the origin of marriage, the origin of different languages, the origin of clothing, the origin of nations; I mean it's a very specific book. And it gives us an account of a global flood in history and the Tower of Babel, and if that history is true, then what about the rest of the book?
That history also says that man is a sinner, and it says that man is separated from God, and it gives us a message that we call the gospel, which is a message of salvation, that God's Son stepped into history, died on the cross, and was raised from the dead and offers the free gift of salvation, because history is true, and that's why the message based on history is true.
I actually went through some predictions, and listed others; there are a lot more you can look at, and go and test it for yourself. If this book really is true, it is so specific, it should explain the world, [and] it should make sense of what we see. Yeah, the apostles went all over the world; the Tower of Babel, yeah, different people groups, different languages. They have Flood legends very similar to the Bible, creation legends similar to the Bible, there’s so much in prophecy and so on. Most of all, as I said, the Bible says if you come to God believing that He is, He will reveal himself to you. You will know. If you search out the truth, if you really want God to show you, as you are searching out the silver and gold, He will show you, He will reveal himself to you.
Nye: As my old Prof. Carl Sagan said so often, when you are in love, you want to tell the world. And I base my beliefs on the information and the process that we call “science.” It feels me with joy to make discoveries every day of things I've never seen before [pointing to fossil]. It fills me with joy to know that we can pursue these answers. It is a wonderful and astonishing thing to me that we are, you and I are somehow, at least one of the ways that the universe knows itself. You and I are a product of the universe. It's astonishing. I can see it on your faces, that we have come to be because of the universe’s existence. And we are driven to pursue that, to find out where we came from.
And the second question, that we all want to know: Are we alone? Are we alone in the universe? And these questions are deep within us, and they drive us, through the process of science, the way we know nature. It is the most compelling thing to me. And I just want to close by reminding everybody what's at stake here. If we abandon all that we've learned, our ancestors, what they've learned about nature and our place in it, if we abandon the process by which we know it, if we is eschew, if we let go of everything that people have learned before us, if we’ve stopped driving forward, stopped looking for the next answer to the next question, we in the United States will be outcompeted by other countries, other economies. Now that would be okay, I guess but I was born here, I'm a patriot. So we have to embrace science education. To the voters and taxpayers that are watching, please keep that in mind. We have to keep science education in science. Science classes.
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